PHOTO: A police vehicle infront of the Tafa’igata prison main gate
By Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA – FRIDAY 03 MAY 2019: Va’a and Maylynn Brown have lodged a complaint with the police over the alleged beating of their son Alex Brown by prisoners inside the Tafaigata prison early this week.
Alex was one of 7 prisoners that tried to break out of prison early Monday morning, and Va’a said that his son was punished because of his part in the escape.
Va’a told Talamua that he was not allowed to see his son during visiting hours at Tafaigata on Tuesday but was asked to return the following day.
“I returned with my wife only to find my name listed as people that should not be allowed inside the prison premises due to the fact that I am a former prisoner,” said Va’a.
However, Va’a suspected that the real reason why he was not allowed in was because the prison officials did not want him to see the alleged injuries on his son, hence the complaint with the police.
He said the police informed him that they will bring Alex to the police station for questioning and to see if he had any injuries.
As Talamua was interviewing Va’a infront of the Tafa’igata prison gate, a police car came from inside the prison with two young men inside and one of them was Va’a’s son.
The interview ended as Va’a and his wife rushed back to the police station to see their son.
Prisoners beating unlawful
Va’a’s claim was rubbish by the Deputy Commissioner of the Samoa Prison Correction Service Levaopolo Rosa Toese.
The procedure for visiting time for custodian families is from Tuesday to Thursday while Saturday and Sunday are allocated for prisoners serving time.
“But when a custody re-offend he or she is then placed on a higher alert watch, thus removing the opportunity for families to visit them on the normal visiting hours, until Saturday,” said Levaopolo.
In Alex’s case, he was a custody who re-offended by trying to escape from prison and his visiting rights were revoked throughout the week until Saturday.
“Alex’s parents were asked to return Saturday, and nothing to do with his father being a former prisoner or any injuries,” said Levaopolo.
She emphasised that under the law, no prisoners or any prison official is allowed or have the right to beat up another prisoner.
Levaopolo said several officials have been terminated over this issue, so the law is very clear on this.
Alex’s mother Maylynn, a former police officer, said allowing prisoners to beat other prisoners or those in custody is nothing new inside prison.
“It happened before and something should be done about it.
“My concern as a mother is such treatment of prisoners and those held in custody is not right. We have seen over the years the result of such actions which even resulted in death,” she said.